LITA’s Statement in Response to Incidents at ALA Midwinter 2019

lita: empowering libraries through technology

The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) Board of Directors is aware that there were several reports on social media from attendees who encountered aggressive behavior, racism, and harassment at the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting, which violated our values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and that there were multiple incident reports filed, including one formal complaint regarding the violation of the Code of Conduct as well. We thank those who were able to share their experiences and draw attention to the systemic issues that our society and profession face. As an association with an unwavering commitment to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, LITA believes that clear action is necessary and seeks partnerships within ALA and beyond to address these issues of systematic oppression.

It is our belief that safety, both physical and psychological, is a requirement for the full engagement of participants. LITA is committed to ensuring, through policy and action, that the culture and activities of LITA and ALA are safe and productive. We are therefore in agreement with the numerous expressions of concern and call for ALA to step up in leading our association and its members through the difficult but necessary work of dismantling system oppression within the profession, understanding differences, valuing those differences, and ultimately, learning how to communicate and innovate in an inclusive manner that welcomes diverse perspectives.

LITA believes that education is a key component of this work. For this reason, we have decided to commit funds to the creation and dissemination of free bystander/allyship webinars. In collaboration with other units of ALA, we will develop trainings that we hope will equip LITA members with tools that empower active and effective allyship, recognize and undo oppressive behaviors and systems, and promote the practice of cultural humility, thereby collectively increasing our collaborative capacity.

As always, LITA stands committed to the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion and welcomes opportunities to collaborate and partner with ALA and beyond in order to realize these values fully. We thank the ALA Executive Board and REFORMA for crafting an appropriate statement about racism and discrimination in the Library profession.

LITA Board of Directors
Bohyun Kim (President), Emily Morton-Owens (President-Elect), Andromeda Yelton (Past-President), Lindsay Cronk, Tabatha Farney, Amanda L. Goodman, Margaret Heller, Topher Lawton, Evviva Weinraub, Berika Williams, Aaron Dobbs (LITA Division Councilor), Jodie Gambill, Brian Rennick, Mark Beatty (ALA), Jenny Levine (ALA)

LITA Diversity & Inclusion Committee
Jennifer Brown (Chair), Paula Jharina Pascual (Vice-Chair), Melissa Stoner (Past-Chair), TJ Lamanna, Rebecca Marrall, Ted Quiballo, Jennifer Vinopal

One comment

  1. Jessamyn West

    Thank you for writing this. I agree with you, clear action is necessary as well as an explanation for the actions ALA was reported as having taken at the time which were… strange. The Code of Conduct is good, it should be applied fairly and there should be consequences for bad behavior.

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